Geranium essential oil is extracted from the plant Pelargonium odoratissimum, of the Geraniaceae family and is extracted from a different plant than its cousin rose geranium essential oil – as this more expensive oil is extracted from Pelargonium graveolens. It is a strong smelling oil with a floral aroma and a hint of mint, and when extracted from the Odoratissimum plant has a slight apple undertone, whereas the Graveolens oil has a rosier aroma.
Geranium Essential Oil, a fresh oil, has a firm place in aromatherapy, as it helps to balance the mind and emotions, while stimulating the adrenal cortex and balancing the hormonal system and stimulating the lymphatic system. On the other hand, it balances the production of sebum in the skin, while keeping it supple and helping with the healing of wounds.
The oil is mostly colorless, but can have a slight light green color to it. It has a watery viscosity.
The plants originated from South Africa, as well as Reunion, Madagascar, Egypt and Morocco and were introduced to European countries such as Italy, Spain and France in the 17th century. There are about 700 different varieties of the plant, yet only 10 supply essential oil in viable quantities, as the normal garden geranium produce far too little oil for extraction. It is a hairy perennial shrub, often used in hedgerows, and stands up to about one meter high (3 feet) with pointed leaves, serrated at the edges and it has pinkish-white flowers. In early times geraniums were planted around the house to keep evil sprits at bay.
The leaves and stalks are used for extraction, and the oil is obtained through steam distillation.
The therapeutic properties of geranium oil are astringent, haemostatic, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, diuretic, deodorant, haemostatic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary.
The essential oil is composed of various chemical constituents and includes a-pinene, myrcene, limonene, menthone, linalool, geranyl acetate, citronellol, geraniol and geranyl butyrate.
This uplifting oil has a great all-over balancing effect on the mind and this uplifting property also extends to the effect it has on the skin – where it helps to create balance between oily and dry skin. It helps to sort out emotions – where it helps to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety, and also works on the adrenal cortex, which has a balancing effect on the hormone system.
The strong smell is particularly good to ward off mosquitoes and head lice.
Precautions and Uses
Geranium oil does not cause any side effects, since it is non-toxic, non-irritant and generally non-sensitizing, yet can cause sensitivity in some people and due to the fact that it balances the hormonal system, it might not be a good idea to use it during pregnancy.
Geranium oil can be used to help in the treatment of acne, bruises, burns, cuts, dermatitis, eczema, hemorrhoids, lice, as a mosquito repellant, ringworm, ulcers, breast engorgement, edema, poor circulation, sore throat, tonsillitis, PMS, menopausal problems, stress and neuralgia.
In vapor therapy geranium essential oil can be used to help relieve stress, mild depression, PMS, anxiety and tension, menopausal problems and for general energizing.
Geranium essential oil can be used in blended massage oil, or diluted in a bath to assist with PMS, depression, stress, anxiety and tension, fluid retention, edema, eczema, shingles, cellulite, bruises, insect repellent, ringworm, hemorrhoids and menstrual irregularities.
As a constituent in a blended base cream, geranium oil can be used for eczema, repelling insects, shingles, burns and scalds, cellulite, ringworm, bruises and engorgement of the breasts. It will help to balance the oil production of the skin and help keep it supple, while the cicatrisant properties ensure that it is helpful in wound healing, including burns, wounds and ulcers.
Geranium essential oil can also be diluted in shampoo to help with head lice.